SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners center fielder Leonys Martin’s bounce-back year puts him in line for a raise of more than $2 million through arbitration, according to annual projections compiled by www.MLBTradeRumors.com.
The Mariners could have as many as 12 players eligible for arbitration, depending on the not-yet-announced cutoff for players to qualify under the super-2 provision.
But Martin is no doubt in line for the biggest raise after batting .247 with 15 homers and 47 RBI while grading out defensively at plus-9 in total zone fielding runs above average.
The MLBTR projections show Martin getting $6.3 million through negotiation or arbitration after making $4.15 million in 2016. The projections are based on a formula devised by Matt Swartz over the past five years.
The projections in previous years were accurate to within $300,000 in 65 percent of all arbitration-eligible players.
Players must have three full years of major-league service to be guaranteed eligibility for arbitration. The top 22 percent of players with between two and three years of service qualify under the super-2 provision.
The Mariners are unlikely to agree to arbitration with many of their eligible players, which means they must negotiate an agreement prior to Dec. 2 or allow the player to become a free agent.
Five Mariners are arbitration-eligible for the first time, although one is catcher Steve Clevenger, who is likely to be released after ending the season on suspension as a result of posting racially insensitive comments on twitter.
The Mariners have interest in retaining the other four: catcher Mike Zunino and relievers Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuno and Evan Scribner.
All are in line for hefty raises, according to Swartz: Zunino from about $530,000 to $1.7 million; Vincent from $525,500 to $1.5 million; Nuno from $532,900 to $1.1 million; and Scribner from $807,500 to $1.1 million.
While pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton do not have the necessary three full years of major-league service to qualify for arbitration, each are likely to qualify under the super-2 provision.
Both made about $530,000 this season, but arbitration is expected to push that next year to $2.8 million for Walker, and $2.7 million for Paxton.
Players who don’t qualify typically earn the MLB minimum or slightly more. That minimum this year was $507,500.
The super-2 cutoff is expected to be somehwere between 2 years, 127 days of service, and 2 years, 131 days. Paxton has 2.151, and Walker has a 2.142. But catcher Jesus Sucre, at 2.125, could fall just short.
Even if Sucre qualifies, the Mariners are unlikely to let negotiations go to arbitration.
Also eligible for arbitration: relievers Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen, and swingman Ryan Cook. All three are likely to be released, designated for assignment or simply not offered a contract (non-tendered) prior to the deadline.
Furbush and Cook spent the entire season on the disabled list. Wilhelmsen projects to make $3.8 million, which is probably more than the Mariners, with numerous other options, are willing to pay.